Dubuque-based Hillcrest Family Services will eliminate seven programs in Iowa — including in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids — following a board vote on Thursday, saying the programs are not financially sustainable.
The programs are expected to end in the next six months, and at least one facility in Mount Pleasant will close, Hillcrest board member Tim Runde said.
Supported community living programs in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids also will close.
In Dubuque, Hillcrest also will shutter its foster group care program, supported apartment living program and another supported housing program.
“Unfortunately, the ongoing sustainability of the agency as a whole is what is forcing these heart-wrenching decisions,” said Julie Heiderscheit, president and chief executive officer of Hillcrest. “Pray for a miracle and things can change.”
Heiderscheit said the Mount Pleasant location is the most expensive to operate. Hillcrest provides therapy and counseling, medication prescribing and monitoring and integrated health home services in Henry County.
“Of all the mental health services we operate, unfortunately the income and expenses are most out of line” in Mount Pleasant, Heiderscheit said.
Heiderscheit said the specific closing date of Hillcrest in Mount Pleasant depends on when the organization can get out of its building lease with Henry County, the transition of clients and “if there’s a miracle that happens between now and then.”
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Heiderscheit said the organization is advocating with the Legislature and managed care organizations to try to work with regents and community programs to see how clients can be best served moving forward.
Board member Runde said the programs the board voted to close were all suffering from lack of payment, funding and insurance reimbursements.
To keep the agency’s other 32 programs running, the board had to cut seven programs that were problematic, Runde added. To do so, the board created a scoring guide to measure which programs had sustained loses.
“The board wanted it on the record that it was with great sadness and difficulty we made this decision,” Runde said. “There’s a need, there’s probably more need than ever for mental health services, and those people don’t go away.
“Where they show up is in the emergency room or the sheriff’s office, and they find other ways to deal with their problems.”